Monday, July 19, 2010

Evaluating the Candidates for Governor

With the August 3 primary rapidly approaching, the race for the Republican nomination for governor remains tight. This blog has endorsed Attorney General Mike Cox as the best choice for conservatives. (see: Mike Cox for Governor) But determining the best candidate also depends on evaluating the other candidates.

The five candidates are Mike Cox, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, Senator Tom George, and businessman Rick Snyder. Here is some relevant information on the candidates. Note that not much information is available on Snyder, since not only does he not have a voting record, but he has refused to fill out candidate questionnaires or to participate in many of the debates.

Health Care
Cox, Hoekstra, George oppose Obamacare and support state efforts to fight it.
Goerge has proposed a health care plan that would increase taxes, spending, and regulation. He championed the restaurant smoking ban and supporting mandating Gardasil for teenage girls.

Taxes, spending, regulation
Cox supports cutting taxes, spending, and regulation.
Hoekstra voted for the 700 billion dollar TARP bailout, which gave lots of taxpayer money to failing Wall Street banks. He also voted for Medicare Part D prescription drug program, which increased the present-value off-books national debt by a whopping 17 trillion dollars. While Hoekstra is not the worst on spending, he cannot be accurately described as a fiscal conservative either.
George voted for Governor Granholm's 2007 tax increase. He has been in the middle on spending, neither the biggest spender nor a fiscal conservative.
Snyder has advocated spending on a variety of pet projects, including his own version of the 'cool cities' initiative.

Cox has been endorsed by Michigan Right to Life.
Hoekstra and Bouchard are prolife. They have not made abortion a major issue.
George is prolife and has advocated for prolife causes as a doctor.
Snyder is pro-abortion. He donated money to the campaign supporting the destruction of human embryos (misleadingly called stem cell research).

Gun Rights
Cox has been a champion of gun rights and has been endorsed by Gun Owners of America and Shooters Alliance for Firearms Rights.
Hoekstra and George have voted pro-gun but have not otherwise been active on the issue.
Bouchard opposed concealed carry when it was passed in 2000. He appears to have genuinely changed his position on the issue since then and is now pro-gun.

Cox issued a ruling to prevent illegal aliens from receiving drivers licences and has filed a brief supporting the Arizona immigration law.
Bouchard has advocated passing a similar law in Michigan.
Hoekstra has opposed amnesty in Congress. He has a B+ grade from Numbers USA.

Right to Work
Bouchard has promised to actively push for a right to work law.
Cox and George are 'open' to the idea.
Snyder would sign it, but not push for it.
Hoekstra opposes right to work.

Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
Cox was the only candidate to support the MCRI to end racial preferences.
Bouchard and George opposed the MCRI.

Cox has twice been elected statewide, including as an underdog in 2002 and in a tough year for Republicans in 2006.
Hoekstra has easily been elected in the heavily Republican 2nd district (Holland, Muskegon) since winning an upset primary victory in 2002. He has not had a tough election since. He is well-known in West Michigan but nearly so much so in the eastern part of the state.
Bouchard is popular as Oakland County Sheriff. However, when he was the Republican nominee for US Senate in 2006, he lost to Debbie Stabenow 58%-42%. Granted, no Republican would have won that race, but Bouchard lost his home county 53%-45%, which suggests his popularity as Sheriff does not transfer to other races.
George has won two tough races as a state senator from Kalamazoo County. He is largely unknown in the rest of the state.
Snyder has never run for office before. He is a businessman who is largely self-funding his campaign. Self-funding candidates have a terrible track record of getting elected, due to the fact that voters dislike rich people. In 2004, when 24 of 25 candidates who spent more than million dollars of their own money lost, and the one who won beat one of the other 24. 19 of 20 lost in 2002. Self-funding businessman Dick DeVos lost the Michigan gubernatorial race in a landslide in 2006.

Mike Cox for Governor

Previous articles on the governor's race:
Republican Michigander Endorses Mike Cox
Rick Snyder's Ten Platitudes
The Truth Comes Out
Hoekstra on the Bailout
Hoekstra: Who, Me?
The Race for Governor
Mackinac Conference 2009
Snyder Wants 'Cool Cities'
Tom George's Health Care Plan
George for Governor?
Taxes On the Record

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